Low-Impact Birthday Party Ideas

March 15, 2013 by  
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English: Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine ...

English: Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine Birthday Party Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you think of children’s birthday parties, you may get images of disposable tablecloths, plastic favors, paper plates and cups, and balloons. These fun events can be extremely wasteful. But children are often just as happy with home-made favors and reusable tablecloths. They just like time to play and eat cake! So let’s take a look at low-impact birthday party ideas that are big on fun and low on waste.

1. Decorations

Here is where you can get really creative. Children enjoy handmade decorations, both making and looking at them. Here are some ideas.

* Instead of rubber balloons, try setting up stations of eco-friendly bubble solution and large, reusable bubble wands. You can also get paper balloons that are more eco-friendly than rubber.

* Instead of plastic confetti, use a hole-punching tool on old magazines to make colorful circles and other shapes.

* Use flower blossoms, petals, or colorful leaves you gather yourself instead of confetti.

* Make flower chains, or recycle old magazines to make colorful paper chains.

2. Tables and Flatware

* Use an old sheet for the tablecloth, and let the party guests decorate it with fabric paint or markers. It will then be a keepsake.

* Instead of plastic or paper cups, plates and flatware, use washable ones. Again, creativity can go a long way in “covering” for your money saving – for example, have a car wash theme and serve your punch from a bucket (clean and food grade, of course), or serve drinks from a hanging pot (cauldron-style) for a Halloween theme.

3. Games, Themes, and Favors

Remember that children really love to play and run around. Adults tend to think that every unscheduled minute is a wasted minute, but your low-impact party will be remembered as one of the most fun ones ever if you hold it at a playground, park, or other place where kids can be kids.

* Go for a green theme. Let children plant garden plants, flowers, or trees for a seasonal birthday memory. If weather permits, hold the birthday party outdoors in a local park or state forest.

* Games do not need to involve paper, plastic, or other disposable items to be fun. Scavenger hunts (try a nature theme), tag, relay races, and other “old fashioned” games are perfect for a low-impact party.

* Host a “come as you are” party. This party theme does not involve paper invitations, making it even more eco-friendly. Each guest gets notified electronically or by phone at random times of the day, and whatever the prospective party guest is doing or wearing at that moment is how he or she must come to the party.

For example, if you call one of your guests at 9am and he is wearing pajamas, he wears those pajamas to the party. If the prospective guest is out walking her dog when you call, she must bring her dog and wear her walking clothes to the party. This is a really fun theme that can get everyone laughing.

* Favors can be home-made baked goods, potted seedlings or seed packets, or something children will treasure long term, like polished stones.

There are so many ways to celebrate birthdays without spending a lot of money or being wasteful.

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How To Host an Eco-Friendly Kids’ Party

February 7, 2013 by  
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English: Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine ...

English: Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine Birthday Party Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children’s parties are often associated with waste, and for good reason. Between paper plates and cups, plastic flatware, party hats, and favors, a child’s party can turn into a very wasteful event. If you’d like to host an eco-friendly kids’ party, here are some ideas.

 

1. Hand-make invitations (with your child’s input) on recycled paper. Or send electronic invitations.

 

2. Bake a healthier birthday cake using whole wheat pastry flour and honey or other natural sweeteners. Instead of a cake, you could bake healthy cookies or muffins disguised as cupcakes. Arrange them in an interesting, dramatic display (cupcakes can be stacked in tiers, cookies can be put on skewers to mimic flowers, etc.).

 

3. Serve iced herbal tea and water instead of artificially colored, sugary drinks. Brew up some fruit-flavored herbal tea, such as raspberry, and sweeten it with stevia or natural sugar. Iced spearmint or peppermint teas are also favorites with children, as is homemade lemonade and punch.

 

4. Ask for recycled or used gifts. Request that your guests shop at local antique, Goodwill or second-hand stores for your child’s birthday present, or even in their own attic or basement.

 

5. Request that gifts be wrapped in reusable totes, cloth, or newspaper.

 

6. Use reusable tableware and tablecloths, or go with those made from recycled materials. You can also rent party supplies that are reusable.

 

7. Favors do not have to be plastic trinkets in plastic bags. Use brown lunch bags, for example, decorated with stickers, markers, stamps, etc. Fill the goody bags with eco-friendly (or homemade) candy or cookies, art supplies, homemade play-dough, wooden toys, etc.

8. Party guests can plant a tree in the birthday child’s honor.

9. If it’s evening, have a campfire and stargazing. Daytime parties can involve a local park or playground followed by a nature walk. Camping out in tents overnight is another fun (and green) party idea for older kids. If weather does not permit, “camping” in tents in the basement or living room can be just as fun, and stargazing through windows works fine.

 

Your child’s birthday party does not have to be expensive or wasteful.

 

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Walking with Kids

January 23, 2012 by  
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Child 1

Image by Tony Tr?n via Flickr

Just finished reading an EXCELLENT article by my friend Katy on how to encourage walking with your children.

The premise:

When it comes to children, walking is essential to developing the human body. Each type of exercise has its benefits, but the mechanoreceptors throughout the human form require walking (and a lot of it) to fully develop all the systems. Walking is not an option. It’s a requirement. For you, and your kids.

And:

…first model the behavior you’d like to see in your children. And then, after you’ve been a good little walker for some time, begin to insist the entire family walk — first short walks and then longer as the bodies adapt for better endurance.

If you’re thinking “Insisting on something with my children won’t work!” please consider the must-dos in your home. Do they have to do their homework? Do they have to be kind to others? Why wouldn’t “have enough endurance to move your skeleton around without some sort of contraption” be on the list of your family rules?

Loved this quote:

The “brushing the teeth rule” is in most homes. Walking daily is actually more important to health than brushing your teeth, and brushing your teeth is pretty gosh darned important. Your kids do it, though, because for some reason, the dental committee really made a compelling argument that people subscribe to, so you brush your teeth at least once a day.

 

 

READ the rest of the article when you click HERE

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Hug a Monkey

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Parent Product Reviews

First of all – the name is just too cute for words!  I love it.  Hug A  Monkey – it says it all.

When my babies were little we didn’t see many baby slings around. It wasn’t until they were already walking and too big for me to carry when I saw the idea take off.  Even this weekend two moms from our church were slinging although the one mom was having trouble adjusting the sling so it was high enough for her baby.

HugAMonkey to the rescue!  This looks like, by far, the easiest baby sling out there – with a very nice price tag to match!  Click the video below to see how easy this sling is to use!  And then click here to visit the site to buy one for yourself or a new mom that you love!

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Potty Training Made Easy!

June 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Parent Product Reviews

Looking for a “fun” and easy way to potty train? Look no further. The folks at BabySigns, Inc, have created a wonderful Potty Training kit that makes it easy on you and on your baby! Here’s their promo video:

And you can purchase the potty training kit when you click here for the BabySigns, Inc, site.

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Ways to Raise a Good Reader

May 11, 2010 by  
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Reading for children is an important part of their development. By developing their reading skills, your child will become better at spelling, understanding ideas and concepts and develop positive language skills early on.

Reading is also a lot of fun and a great bonding activity for parents and children. But how do you raise a good reader when you’re competing against a host of electronic devices?

Here are a few tips:

#1 – Read daily. Reading little and often is better than leaving large gaps of time between reading. By making reading a daily activity, you cement that reading is important and just a “part of life” in your child’s mind. Set a routine of a short bedtime story or a story after lunch or dinner each day so you don’t forget.

#2 – Visit the library. Many children today have never visited a library outside of school. There are so many other activities and things competing for your child’s attention that the library may be last on their list. But most kids respond positively to an outing at the library. Make visiting the library a regular activity and you’ll children will start to look forward to it.

The library can be a magical place for children and many have activities to help promote reading that are both fun and educational.

#3 – Start a book club. This can easily be done by joining forces with a few other parents. Meet weekly with the children to discuss a new book. This way the children not only see their parents getting involved, but also have the chance to develop grown-up conversational skills at the same time. Discuss the book and then enjoy a few treats; make it fun so that the kids really look forward to it.

#4 – Lead by example. If your kids see you reading from a young age, they may want to do the same thing mommy or daddy are doing. Show your kids that reading is a normal, fun part of life. Tell them about the latest book you’re reading and why you enjoy it. Show them the Sunday newspaper and explain how you learn what’s going on in the world by reading it.

#5 – Read at bedtime. As mentioned above, reading at bedtime is wonderful for both children and parents. It gives parents and kids a few minutes to connect at the end of each day. You can share a story and then discuss a few of the characters. Reading is a great way to unwind and will become a welcomed addition to your bedtime routine.

#6 – Let them choose. Reading tends to become less exciting as children grow. Give your children access to a variety of suitable reading materials to help them realize that reading is fun at any age. Whether it’s comics or “how to” books, by providing fun and informative reading material you’ll keep your child hooked and involved.

Another great option for older kids is to share their reading book with mom and dad. You can each read the same book together a few evenings a week. Your child can read one chapter out loud, then you read another and so on. This not only helps you spend time with your child but you get to enjoy a story together. There are some fantastic teenage mystery and action books that most young adults will really enjoy reading.

While raising a good reader may seem to be a harder job than it once was, it’s not too difficult a task. By exposing your children to books from a young age and creating an enthusiasm for reading, you’ll lead by example and help to raise a good future reader.

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Prepare Your Child for a New Arrival

September 16, 2009 by  
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Children grow up so fast, and there are changes each step of the way. If you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant, you may be wondering how to prepare your child or children for a new arrival. Use these ideas and you may find your child actually looking forward to their new brother or sister.

It’s common for older children to feel jealous when they’re told about a new sibling. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. There is much you can do to help them feel less jealous and more eager to be the older sibling. Here are some suggestions:

1. Involve your older child in as much of the pregnancy as you can. Tell them as soon as you and your partner feel comfortable and make it a joyous occasion for them. Have a special “I’m going to be a big brother or sister” dinner for them.

2. Look through the family’s baby pictures. Start with yours and your partner’s, and then look through each child’s baby pictures. Ask them who they think they looked like. Then ask them who they think the new baby will look like the most.

3. Buy them a t-shirt that says “I’m a big brother” or “I’m a big sister.” Explain to them you’ll need their help when the new baby comes. Tell them you know they’ll be a great sibling.

4. Ask them for their ideas for baby names. Be prepared, however, because they may want to name the baby after their favorite toy, pet, or television character!

5. Take time as a family to read books about becoming an older brother or sister. Give them an opportunity to tell you how they feel about a new brother or sister. Are they afraid you won’t love them anymore? Are they afraid you won’t have time for them? Be sure to let them know you’ll never stop loving them.

6. Take them to the doctor with you. Ask the nurse to allow your child to be in the room while they listen to the baby’s heartbeat or during a non-vaginal ultrasound.

7. Try to find a class for siblings. Some hospitals offer these classes to teach new brothers and sisters how to properly hold and care for a baby. Classes will also give them a non-threatening avenue to discuss their feelings about their new sibling.

8. Expose your child to other babies. If you have friends with babies, be sure to visit so your child can see how to hold a baby, talk to them, and how careful they’ll need to be around them.

9. When you bring the baby home, be sure to ask for help from your child. This will give them a sense of being important to the baby and to you. Ask them to get diapers, wipes, or clean clothes for the baby while you bathe or change it. If you’re bottle feeding, show them how to hold the bottle so they can help feed the baby.

10. If you’re breastfeeding, your older child obviously can’t help with feeding. However, you can have special toys for them to play with while they’re in the room with you and the baby during feeding time. This will allow you to spend time with them and take care of the baby’s needs.

You may find that using some of these ideas on how to prepare your child for a new arrival makes the transition easier. While these ideas won’t guarantee your child won’t have feelings of jealousy, they might help you help them accept the baby quicker.

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The Basics of Back-to-School Shopping

August 1, 2009 by  
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PATERSON, NJ - OCTOBER 06:  An employee takes ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Many parents look forward to the beginning of a new school year. However, many parents also they dread the prospects of back-to-school shopping. Some parents are experts at the basics of back-to-school shopping while others struggle with it. You can use some of these tips for back-to-school shopping so you can get the job done without struggling.

Look through current wardrobe

You and your child might want to look through your their current wardrobe to find out what needs to be replaced. Some of their jeans, shirts, and socks may still be usable. When you know what your child actually needs, it will be easier to go to the next step – talking to the children to see what they want.

Talk to your children

Before you head out to the mall, you might want to have a talk with your children to find out what new items they’d like. Of course, you can expect them to want the latest clothes that they believe their friends will have, or that they think will make them look cool. Let them know what you can afford and ask them which items are “necessary” and which items are “desired.”

Make a list

Make a list of all the clothing your children need. Then make a list of the school supplies. You may want to give the children a certain amount of money to spend on “desired” items but explain that once that money is gone they won’t get more. This will allow them to get some things that they want and definitely things they need.

Create a budget

Determine how much money you have available to spend on clothing, shoes, and supplies based on the list you made. Depending upon the ages of the children, plan to spend a certain amount per child, and then add a little extra for older children since their clothing will probably cost more.

Inform children of budget

Let the children know how much money you have to spend for their clothes and supplies. If they’re older, you may want to have them help you keep track of what you’re spending and how much money is left. This will help them with math skills and help you decide what else they can get. If there are certain items they want that you don’t have the money for, suggest that they spend their own money for those items.

It won’t be long before you’ll have to spend money on back-to-school items. Learning the basics of back-to-school shopping can make the task less stressful. After a few years your skills at saving money for school items will increase and you’ll be able to share your knowledge with others.

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Floating Swimwear Girls Pink/Stripes Swimsuit

A Private Swimming pool
Image via Wikipedia

Where to buy: Where to buy: www.sportskids.com

Floating Swimwear make float wear products for babies, toddlers and children that are designed with water safety in mind. The built-in puncture proof flotation will give parents peace of mind when their kids are in the swimming pool but of course it doesn’t eliminate the need to supervise children near water.

This deluxe 2 in 1 swim suit is made from a light-weight and flexible material and comes in an attractive lime color with stripes that can be worn by girls and boys alike. It comes with an attachable floatation vest that consists of soft and flexible foam. It can easily be taken off when playing out of the water due to the durable snapping locks on each side of the swim suit. The suit is very comfortable to wear both in and out of the water and comes in various sizes, XS – Age 2 to 4, S – Age 4 to 6 and M – Age 6 to 8.

Enjoy the many benefits of this swim suit, especially the safety aspect in and around water. For more information on this great product, go to www.Sportskids.com.

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Nursing Your Baby? What If You Have To Go Away?

July 8, 2009 by  
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Baby & Bottle
Image by sunsurfr via Flickr

Another great article from our friends at SexyNursingBra.com

It is possible that as a new mom, there will be times when you will have to be away from your baby for a short period of time. Perhaps you have to travel on business, or there is a medical procedure that you must have, that will make it impossible for you to breastfeed for awhile.

This doesn’t have to mean weaning, however.

If you are a nursing mom, there are some extra steps you can take to ensure you and your baby cope well with this change in schedule.

This means stocking up on milk to nourish your baby while you’re away, keeping up your milk supply and remembering a few comfort techniques for yourself.

Here are a few tips for nursing moms who have to be away from their baby.

1) Store Milk for Baby

Depending on how long you’ll be gone, you’ll want to begin pumping extra milk daily to be stored and used to feed your baby while you’re on your trip. This might take a couple of weeks, depending on how much your baby eats, how often you pump and what your milk supply looks like.

Many moms find that it’s easiest to pump extra milk in the morning when their supply is higher, or after a nap. (Typically a woman has more milk after a period of sleep.)

Store your milk in freezer-safe containers that the babysitter or another family member can pull out and warm for baby when he or she is hungry.

If your baby is not used to bottle feeding, it might be a good idea to briefly introduce the bottle to him or her before leaving. It usually works best if someone else offers the bottle, not you, as baby will often reject a bottle when your breasts are nearby.

You can also leave behind an article of clothing of yours, such as a shirt or nightgown, to remind baby of your smell while feeding.

2) Keep Up Your Milk Supply

While away, it is important to keep up your milk supply if you plan on nursing your baby when you get back. To do this, you’ll need to find a pump that works well for you. It may be a hand pump, electric pump or by hand expressing your milk. You’ll want to pump as often as your baby usually nurses, if possible. The pumping will cause your body to believe it is still nursing and continue to produce milk on a regular basis.

Many women find it helpful to take along a picture of their baby to look at while pumping or a blanket that has their smell. It is a good idea to use the same blanket during a couple of feedings before leaving and take this with you. You might want to wear nursing pads throughout the day to catch any leaking that may occur.

3) Comfort Techniques

Not being able to nurse as frequently can cause painful engorgement for some women. The breasts feel sore, tender and hard in some areas.

Pumping the milk out can help out tremendously, but you may still want to employ some comfort techniques for your own benefit.

Take a warm compress, such as a hand towel moist with warm water and place on your breasts. After a few minutes of direct heat, take some natural oil, such as sweet almond oil and gently massage the lumps in your breasts. This will help the milk flow easier and is a good time to pump some milk out.

After massaging the breasts, a cold pack might help reduce discomfort and pain. A hot or cold shower can replace the hot or cold packs if you wish.

For more tips for nursing moms, visit www.SexyNursingBra.com
just because you’re breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can’t be hot!

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